Episode 21: Joe Whittle on Cultural Appropriation

Joe Whittle is a member of the Caddo and Delaware Nations of Oklahoma, a journalist, an outdoor skills instructor, and a seasonal field ranger with the U.S. Forest Service in the Wallowa Mountains and Hells Canyon region of Oregon. He is also a longtime activist for indigenous rights, and is currently developing a wilderness immersion program for Native American youth.

Episode Outline

  • Defining cultural appropriation
  • The impacts of cultural appropriation on cultures whose practices are appropriated
  • How American Indians survived 500 years of oppression
  • The difference between tribal cultural identities and tribal colonial identities
  • How extirpation of indigenous people leaves a cultural void filled by the romanticization of indigeneity
  • The emergence of ‘pretendians’, people falsely claiming Indian ancestry or cultural connection to capitalize on the romanticization of indigeneity
  • How people of European ancestry can work to combat cultural appropriation and the erasure of indigenous people

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